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“I have become more liberal in my thinking because of him and changed Lutheran denominations because of that,” says Julie.“We both can agree, and I love the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.She makes me think first about whether I am expressing the true heart of Islam in what I say.I am a better representative of my own faith now than before I met her.”Many nonbelievers feel the same.In the exclusive excerpt below, Mc Gowan talks about the benefits of those mixed-faith relationships:…Despite the general pall that so many commentators cast over religiously mixed marriages of every kind, the picture of the secular/religious marriage is positive and encouraging. After all, we’ve just spent a great deal of time examining the many issues and tensions that can arise when one partner is religious and the other is not.

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But most couples do find the challenges manageable, tension usually decreases over time, and many people find that the benefits outweigh the challenges.When I asked respondents to my survey to describe any specific benefits or positive results from their secular/religious difference, .“Having a wife that is a liberal Christian actually helps me in my activism,” says Steven.“She helps me moderate my message and tailor things so that religious people will be more receptive and less offended.”Close experience with difference usually has a liberalizing effect, and it’s no different for secular/religious couples.

The rest offered not only benefits, but many of the same benefits, over and over.This chapter is devoted to that encouraging repetition.…The Positives What follows is a list of seven specific benefits that are repeatedly experienced in the secular/religious marriage.“We both found that each other was not the ‘scary atheist’ and ‘crazy Christian’ that we were led to believe,” says Julie, a Lutheran married to an atheist.

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